This study addresses the dielectric performance of nonpolar hydrocarbon liquids and mineral oils under negative polarity stress. Stopping length for non-breakdown streamers, breakdown voltages and velocities for various pre-breakdown streamer modes have been studied for a selection of model liquids (cyclohexane and white oils), for a gas to liquid oil, and a refined naphthenic transformer oil. Studies of propagation modes were done using an 80 mm point to plane gap and a step voltage with 0.5 μs rise time. Light emission and pre-breakdown currents have been recorded and instantaneous velocities have been derived from images of propagating streamers. Compared to positive polarity, there are less differences in streamer behaviour in the oils examined under negative polarity. Breakdown voltages and acceleration voltages are higher for negative streamers than for positive ones, while their propagation velocities are lower. While propagation modes for positive voltages are quite distinct, the mode changes for negative ones are more gradual. The behaviour of both positive and negative streamers is in line with the hypothesis that the propagation is governed by electron avalanches and quantum chemical properties of liquid components.